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President Buhari’s Foreign Policy: A Realist Perception

Updated: May 20, 2018

Salihu Mohammed Niworu, Ph.D.

Department of Political Science, Faculty of Management and Social Sciences, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State, Nigeria., +2348035983879


President Buhari came to power in the midst of challenges ranging from security, economy and international relations. To overcome these challenges, Buhari’s government decided to look inward for reforms in the overall security apparatus in order to relate effectively with the outside world for sustainable development in Nigeria. It is against this backdrop that this paper analyzed Buhari’s foreign policy within the first Twelve (12) months of his administration and came to conclusion that, he was a realist in perception using political power for the realization of national objectives.


Foreign policy is an important determinant of international relations. It deals with the relationship between actors in the international system. Therefore, the defining elements of foreign policy are friend or foe. The Nation States defined their friends and enemies in the international system with the intention of achieving the following objectives:

*Maintenance of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

*Provision of national security.

*Promotion of economic interest and welfare of citizens.

*Protection of national prestige and development of national power. *Maintenance of world order.

However, given the dynamism of Nigeria’s domestic conditions resulting from dominant negative values, these objectives have not been maximally achieved when compared with her contemporaries in the third world countries of Latin America and Asia. This is not far from the lip service to Nigerian national pledge. The lyrics of the national pledge appear on the lips of Nigerians every day like a devotional sermon, but with insignificant action to justify the pledge. Lest I forget, the lyrics read thus:

I pledge to Nigeria my country

To be faithful, loyal and honest

To serve Nigeria with all my strength

To defend her unity and uphold

Her honour and glory

So help me God.

It is pertinent to note that, school pupils at their formative stage, sportsmen, organized private sector, the traditional institution, the academia, the civil service and the political class read the national pledge only for ceremonial purposes. Against this backdrop, public consumption goods within the context of the neoclassical political economy such as functional schools, efficient health facilities, road infrastructure, pipe borne water, national security, etc. were relegated to the background leaving a lot to be desired in all sectors of the Nigerian economy. The devastating consequences of this disconnect between the pledge and positive action are a hostile environment for both domestic and international relations in Nigeria.

To buttress the above, President Buhari is of the view that:

In recent times Nigerian leaders appear to have misread our mission. Our founding fathers, Mr. Herbert Macauley, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Mallam Aminu Kano, Chief J.S. Tarka, Mr. Eyo Ita, Chief Denis Osadeby, Chief Ladoke Akintola and their colleagues worked to establish a certain standard of governance. They might have differed in their methods or tactics or details, but they were united in establishing a viable and progressive country. Some of their successors behaved like spoilt children breaking everything and bring disorder to the house. (Leadership, 30th May 2015).

(Please download the full-text pdf to read more)

1 comment

1 Comment

kingsley oluchi
kingsley oluchi
Aug 05, 2020

very insightful

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